Bob

There’s a lot to be said for injecting a bit of funk into one of Shakespeare’s many classics, particularly when a new twist comes along that hasn’t been seen before. Bob is perhaps one of the more madcap editions currently on the Fringe, and whilst I admire the pizazz and energy brought to the stage by the cast, there are a few issues that still need to be ironed out.

I’m not sure this production quite knows what it is

Bob’s premise is that Shakespeare’s lost play has been rediscovered; it follows the same basic narrative as the fate that befalls the Macbeths, with a few cheeky winks to some of William’s other great tragedies along the way. Whilst the introductory character of Evangeline, a larger-than-life luvvie who has discovered this new script, was played with pantomime skill by George Prové, this play-within-a-play device ultimately has zero impact on the plot of the production. It would have been nice to see development of this meta-narrative throughout the show, as more than a vague excuse for being able to twist several plot lines together.

At times the staging of certain scenes feels slightly misjudged: two speeches which take place on a podium, for example, happen so far downstage that it is impossible to see any more than the back of the character speaking unless you are situated on one of six seats directly in front of the stage. However the scenes that do address the larger sections of the audience are some of the more polished and entertaining set pieces, with a recurring news report gag proving particularly effective at keeping the plot in some sort of order.

I’m not sure this production quite knows what it is: part Macbeth parody, part homage to Shakespeare and nothing particularly original in the way of adaptation. Gin and Tonic Productions are undoubtedly a talented and creative ensemble, and individual roles were approached with boundless energy and enthusiasm – it’s unfortunate that this led to a rushed speed of delivery, which ultimately affects the clarity of a narrative that was already pretty shaky to begin with.

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The Blurb

Devised by the company that brought you the critically acclaimed Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hamlet at the Edinburgh Fringe, this extravagant and fresh comedy aims to turn the frequently stuffy and alienating Shakespeare experience totally on its head. Paralleling contemporary political and cultural issues, this fast-paced comedy, featuring everything from live jazz to period samba dancing, tracks the heartbreaking downfall of Shakespeare’s most tragic, dippy and loveable hero. ‘This could well be one of the smash-hits of the Fringe’ **** (TheMumble.net). ‘I cannot wait to see more of this talented company's work’ **** (BroadwayBaby.com).

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